This review appears in The Washington Post’s 2015 Fall Dining Guide.
The eyes have it at this glam new supper club in the Carlyle Hotel, where guests pass through a giant keyhole en route to a red leather booth so big you could throw a party in it, in a room where a chandelier glitters from within a skylight.
I could imagine drinking only seltzer and having a good time of it, although the Riggsby’s daiquiris and Sazeracs — generous, well-made drinks — are more in keeping with the retro theme dreamed up by Boston chef Michael Schlow and executed by Philippe Reininger, formerly of the late J&G Steakhouse. Some dishes come with a wink: Potato tots lined up like Rockettes on a ripple of chipotle aioli and sporting chili rings are closer to haute cuisine than a freezer case. Other choices update the tried and true. If you’re looking for a stellar chopped salad, plate of spaghetti or chocolate cake, this is where you can call off the search. A hotel venue that feels more personal than most, the maverick reaches out to a wide audience with silvery sardines strewn with pine nuts and raisins; an inches-thick pork chop finished at the (white linen) table with cherry peppers, potatoes and onions; and a strip steak upstaged by its french fries and bearnaise.
Frank and Judy didn’t dine here, but they could have. Old Hollywood, meet New Washington.
The Riggsby: 1731 New Hampshire Ave. NW. 202-234-3200. www.theriggsby.com.
Open: Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, weekend brunch.
Prices: Breakfast $7 to $16, lunch entrees $13 to $26, dinner entrees $15 to $38, brunch entrees $12 to $26.
Sound check: 74 decibels / Must speak with raised voice.
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